“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10
Read this verse over and over. What is the Holy Spirit whispering to you?
This morning the Holy Spirit is reminding me that God is great, and He will elevate us to greatness if we allow Him. I’m also reminded that God can’t lift us up if we have elevated ourselves already. Instead we will fall.
Our verse comes from a section of James in which He is reminding us that we are nothing on our own, but God is everything. If we submit ourselves to Him, He will lift us up to greatness. It goes along with what Jesus says in Matthew 23:12 “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
We are not here for ourselves. We are here to worship God. With that means many things. It means God is our master and we are His servants. This means we are to acknowledge God as our master. It means we are not greater than He or anyone. We are who He made us to be. We are here to serve Him. As servants we do the will of God. But we humans don’t like being servants. We want to be served. So, we try to make God our servant. We try to manipulate Him thinking that somehow, we are in charge. ‘God if you do this, I will do this.’ Or ‘God I will only believe in you if you do what I ask.’ If things don’t go our way, then there must not be a God. Or if God askes us to do something we are uncomfortable with, well, we say no. The worst of all is we go about our day not thinking about God at all. That is exalting ourselves. When we exalt ourselves, we will be humbled.
Humility is an interesting animal. It is not pretending to be lower than we are. That isn’t humility, that is acting. Humility means being who we are without making a big deal out it. It is serving God, doing our part, without the need of fan fair. We don’t need to build ourselves up because we see that God is the only one worthy of such praise. It is understanding that without God we are nothing. Ultimate humility is not thinking of ourselves at all and instead thinking about how we can serve God with love by serving others and putting them first. When we do this, God’s greatness will shine through us.
Humility is part of worship. We are to worship God all the time. This means doing His will. Acknowledging Him as Lord, our master. Praising Him and loving Him. It means serving Him in all we do. This is hard to do. The world wants to serve itself. We are taught to take care of our self first, then worry about others. So, we spend our time trying to be better than everyone around us. This usually means putting people down, pretending to be someone we aren’t, trying to impress those we see as great. It leads to worshiping others and ultimately, we are left with emptiness and shame. When we try to be someone we aren’t, we will fail. God doesn’t need to bring shame on us because that shame will come naturally.
Pride is evil. Pride will never win because it is the nature of evil. Pride requires us to put ourselves above others at the cost of others. They will only allow that if you bring them up with you. But once they have risen as far as you can take them, they will turn on you to take your spot. Evil feeds on evil. If there is no evil in you, then it must feed on itself. Therefore, good wins by just being good.
We will never be exalted if we want to be exalted. We can’t become humble with the thinking that we will then be exalted. It doesn’t work that way. If we want to be exalted, we will try to do it ourselves. But if we allow God to be our master. If we accept our position and our purpose, God will exalt us just because He will shine through us. He will lift us up because we are His.